The Special Investigation Team of the Karnataka Police said journalist Gauri Lankesh’s killers are linked to Hindutva organisation Sanathan Sanstha and that her murder was part of an “organised crime”, PTI reported on Saturday. Lankesh was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017.
In their 9,235-page chargesheet that identified 18 accused in the murder case, the investigators said the crime was committed after five years of planning. Sixteen of the accused have been arrested, while tw people are still absconding, according to The Indian Express. The chargesheet filed on Friday identifies Amol Kale, Sujith Kumar and Amit Degwekar as the accused who planned the murder and 26-year-old Parashuram Waghmare as the one who committed the act. On May 30, the investigating team had filed its first chargesheet against accused KT Naveen Kumar.
“The killer and the killed have no personal or any other enmity,” Special Public Prosecutor S Balan told PTI. “Why she was killed? Because she believed in certain ideology, she wrote and spoke on that. So, it must be an ideology and it must be an organisation.”
“It is an act of organised crime,” Balan told The Indian Express. “The Sanathan Sanstha has been named in the chargesheet as the group that carried out the killing with the help of members of other fringe groups. The murder was planned by a group involved in such killings for five years.”
“We have sought permission to investigate further,’’ the chief investigating officer of the SIT, MN Anucheth, added.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara said the state will soon take a decision on banning organisations linked to the journalists murder.
In July, reports quoted unidentified police officials as saying that a diary of one of the suspects had Lankesh as the second name on one of two hit lists.
In August, the Central Bureau of Investigation had told a court in Pune that the murders of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013 and that of Lankesh were linked. The agency had said a suspect in the Lankesh case had handed over a pistol and three bullets to the prime accused in the Dabholkar case.